The “new” jail in downtown Greensboro opened in 2012 and it turns out that, more than a decade later, parts of it aren’t so new anymore. The floors and walls in the jail’s showers, for instance, have some big problems and, after debating the best solutions for over a year, the county is now taking action to fix the issue.

The problem is that the coatings on the shower floors, walls and some adjacent areas have deteriorated to the point where it now has to be addressed.

According to an explanation by sheriff’s department officials given last year, the main problem with the shower area coatings has been the failure of the epoxy coating to stick to the underlying block walls. This led to cracks in the shower walls and the shower floors.

Department officers believe the cause is a combination of wear and tear due to the substantial amount of inmate use combined with the potential defect in either the product or the application of the product.

Sheriff’s Department officials said that they think the shower coatings should have lasted longer than they did and said that. due to a likely flaw in the epoxy coating, it hasn’t stuck to the underlying block walls, especially around the drains.

One estimate earlier in the year was that it would cost about $400,000 to fix the problem the right way.  And, now that actual bids have come in, that number is not that far off from the lowest bidder.

If that sounds high, keep in mind that two other companies that bid on the project each wanted nearly $1 million to fix the problem.

These repairs were mandated by the NC Department of Health Service Regulation codes in order for the jail to remain open.

Guilford County received five bids with TRI Solutions Inc. being the low bidder with a base bid of $344,200.00.

County documents state that, “After review by the stakeholders and the design team the team recommends an additional $40,000.00 of owner’s contingency to be added to the contract award. Contingency funds not used for additional or unforeseen circumstances will be credited back to Guilford County upon completion of this project…As a result of the base bid and additional owner’s contingency, the total contract amount is $384,200.”

Kinston-based TRI Solutions has a great deal of experience with flooring and epoxy coatings and has already done some work at the county’s downtown Greensboro jail.

The Sheriff’s Department has been pleased with their work in the past.

And all importantly when it comes to Guilford County contracts, TRI has committed to a 30 percent goal of using Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) for subcontracted work.

This project is expected to begin in June and be completed in about a year.